Putting together a cheese platter for a holiday gathering is sure to make you a popular host or guest at any event this season. This task may sound overwhelming to some, but by following a few simple guidelines, we can help anyone put together a delicious cheese plate. At the end of the day, you want a medley of cheeses that can be displayed harmoniously together with varying textures and taste. By convention, a cheese platter should contain three to five cheeses. To learn more, two Seward Co-op cheesemongers are hosting a class at the Franklin Store on Tuesday, Dec. 12—sign up here. Any cheese specialist at either of our stores is also happy to assist you in making your selections.
The general strategy we employ that ensures variety is choosing one cheese from the following groups: fresh, blue, soft-ripened, washed rind, semisoft, and hard. Choosing cheeses with different milks, textures and ages affords variety as well. Consider adding a blue or a flavored cheese to add some additional flavor dimension. To ensure your platter is enticing and appetizing to all, we recommend selecting at least one familiar cheese. A standby for us is an aged cheddar or Parmigiano-Reggiano. The ages-old question—how much cheese to serve—always comes up at the Cheese counter. If cheese is the star of the menu, we suggest buying three pounds for every eight people. Plan to bring four ounces per person if this is one of many dishes to choose from at a gathering. Here at the Co-op, our focus is on local cheese, below are our picks for a devilishly delicious P6 cheese platter: Jeff’s Select Gouda (hard), Prairie Breeze Cheddar (hard), Grazer’s Edge (washed rind), Maytag blue cheese (blue), Bent River Brie Camembert (soft-ripened).
If you find that once all of your cheese selections are displayed the platter looks like it’s still missing something, our Grocery, Produce, and Meat & Seafood departments have jams, vibrantly colored local herbs, and cured meats that will add a nice flavor depth and color contrast to the plate.